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Wikiloops And Competition

posted on #1
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Something that's been pottering around my mind as I've sat here staring at boxes in readiness to move in a couple of days: how do the loopers handle 'competition'? By this, I mean, how do you deal with players of your instrument and whether, in your eyes, they're 'better' or 'worse' than you? No matter how Wikiloops is a non-judgemental playing ground, how do you see other players of your instrument? Are you jealous? Do you learn?

For me, it's a double-edged sword. There's been players I've [arrogantly] thought, 'yeah, I can do that.'. Yet the next track they play a blinder that totally puts me in my place. The drummers on Wikiloops keep serving me that humble pie. Keep it coming.

For me, I see no peer competition. I hear drummers and musicians across the board on here, from the best players I've heard who belong on the biggest stages in the world to the most earnest beginners. Yet it's those beginners I hear amazing new ideas from. The players who take it on, have a go and put us 'seasoned' players in our place, in truth.

I learn from beginners as I do the pros. I know I can play. I know I've done my homework and have spent decades getting 'good'. I know I've gone and played and done it, Yet the guys who've only just got going, just learning to play, keep putting curveballs in my direction. I may have the experience and the skill but some of these players have incredible imagination - *please* keep putting me in my place.

Learning is not just for beginners.
posted on #2
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I never ever think in a competition way with music! But i hear some difference also of course.
When i hear someone play the keys, i instantly feel what kinda player that is, technical, routined, loaded with feeling, beginner, great sounds etc..... and i learn from that everytime!
I think our learning and evoluating curve with music is different as it is with sports for example.....in music there is a riping proces also! Maybe the technical side won’t improve as fast as it did in the early years, but listening to other musicians and trying different things is getting musicians to an “other” stage!
Or something like that! :)
posted on #3
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Although I hear other sax players, there is nobody dead or alive I'd really like to sound like or imitate. It's not that I'm a good technical player, or that I've got better ideas. I'm just more interested in listening to other instruments and how I can play along with them and create new sounds and feelings.

Unfortunately sax players are taught to try and sound like some "Great Player". Why? Those "Great Players" didn't want to sound like a sax player from 50 years before their time. Having a different point of view makes it so that other players are not seen as competition. I can certainly appreciate a good sax player, yet their playing is generally so different it would be like thinking about being competitive with a violinist.

We had a wonderful sax player “javisax” that showed up for a while. His tone, technique and articulation were a joy to hear. He created beautiful multi voice sax tracks that were wonderful. Competition? Once again his playing was completely different to mine. Appreciation does not mean that I want to play or sound like him. He’s on his path and I’m on mine. I do miss his playing and wish he was still around.

Probably most others instrumentalists just hear the sound of a sax and give it no further consideration other than: "are they technically OK and is it pleasant?" Let’s face it; the sax is a very minor instrument in this place. Probably few care to listen closely enough to hear what they consider too subtle to be noticeable. I’ve got to admit to not being able to hear subtleties of other instruments unless I’m really concentrating. Hopefully we can all hear what works, and ultimately, that might be enough.

Sax is the closest instrument to the human voice, and similarly one can train themselves to sound like some famous singer/player, or you can develop your own voice and character. Although few other instruments have the range of sound and tone production of a sax there is certainly a stamp of style that one can hear with unique players of almost every instrument.

My challenge is to become the best me regardless of what anyone else does or strives for.
posted on #4
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Music is not the Olympic Games.
One does not judge the quality of a musician to the number of notes that can play in one second.:o
posted on #5
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For me, I worry more about keeping up with the great players of the other instruments I am playing along with on a track. I am not a great technical bass player, nor am I very knowledgeable about music theory, so if I get a groove going, I think I am winning :) Also, I think it is true of bass that the best, most memorable bass lines are usually not necessarily that technical, fast or difficult to play, they just gotta groove. I recently ran across a how to play video for the bassline of Low Rider by War. Not hard to play, but it is an ear worm - once you hear it it's hard to get it out of your head. Wikiloops has improved my playing just because I have to try to keep up with great players like mpointon ;) So many talented players and great people here - I am just trying to learn something and have some fun doing it.
posted on #6
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All, this is a very interesting post. I admire the subject being brought up as it probably is something that some players feel sensitive about.

I think some musicians have a tendency to be naturally competitive to varying degrees (whether they want to admit it or not), and some don't. I've been in bands where theres been rivalry etc, and its nothing new. Brian Wilson was inspired by Revolver and Sgt Peppers, and produced a few classics of his own - so that is an example of how competitiveness can be healthy.

Personally I don't view other musicians as "better or worse" only different. Every single musician from beginner to the finest pros brings something to the table, we have strengths and weaknesses, and I've learned things even when I taught drums to complete beginners.

Whenever I listen to other drum tracks on here (including your splendid ones mpointon), I never feel threatened, inferior jealous, insecure - I only feel inspired or intrigued at the different sounds I'm hearing, or recording techniques used, and it only makes me think positively.

At the end of the day (its 11:59), my main focus is :- how can I do justice to someone elses music, create a good atmosphere, or stir an emotion and do the very best job I can. If someone likes my adds, all the better, if they don't, nevermind! Theres always the "choose a different drummer button" ha ha ha


Theres no rivalry on here, we are all brothers and sisters!
posted on #7
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I do compete but exclusively against myself, that goes for everything i do. But in that process i use others not as opponents but as benchmarks. If i encounter a player that has aspects i like no matter what, i try to analyse and absorb what he does in order to incorporate it into my own playing. And that could be anything, speed, certain techniques, timing, phrasing, harmonic, melodic or rhythmical content etc etc.
For me that is also a way of showing apreciation
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #8
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Yeah good thread. I often listen to wikiloops radio at work and suddenly I go whoah who is that and it may be Frenzie or Rob or xavi, Tof, Ken, Gem, Kim, or a few of the other players here and I go through all these emotions from whoa to grrrrr why?? Wtf!! Angry because I'll never be able to play as good as that envy that they play so clean and melodic and what not. There were several times during a song where I considered quitting playing because of that. BUT, these are all quick fading emotions, I love all those guys and enjoy listening to them and hopefully picking up a thing or two. So for me there is no competition, I am not in their league anyway. I just enjoy being able to play with them on some tracks, and that is just so cool.
Edited by TeeGee on September 30 2017 15:26
posted on #9
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....see ....? just like me you are competitive in a way! just by thinking that there is a "league". i totally see myself as " down there" and loads of the other guys as "up there" but....and its a bigie, they are no "better" or "worse" players here only players with the potential to be "great".
i know I've got a good right hand, and i know my left fingers are slow these days, but sometimes, just sometimes, pure creativity takes over and i achieve more than either hand can. likewise some guys are always creative but limited in "touch" while others have the touch but limited creativity, so the "competition" tend to be with oneself, rather than "against " others.

did that make any sense?
posted on #10
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..tell you the weirdest one... at Wikifest maybe 40 or 50 musos are present. Now in a band there's normally at least one ego, yet at wikifest there are NO egos. so something about the loops attracts non ego driven players, and therefore and ethos of non competition rules.
posted on #11
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Here is your competition better get at it learning your craft .https://youtu.be/0xDAjGv5Cwc
posted on #12
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Competition? Nah. Music is expression..a reflection on the one making the music. For me...it's about setting my own goals and trying to reach them. Y'all know I am not "accomplished"..but I'd like to think that since I began playing again..I'm hoping I've improved. If I thought I was really good..I wouldn't listen to others play. However listening to others allows me to have goals to shoot for.

Yes..there are way batter sax players out there than myself. I desire my own sound as Wade mentioned..don't wanna sound "just like So and So"..I'm here to improve my own skills...not try to "out-do" someone else here that plays a sax. Jealous of those that are more creative than myself...yes. But want to be competetive?? Nah. Life is too short for that if you ask me. I like individuality. :)
posted on #13
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Bassists are a brotherhood. Noone messes with my homeys.
posted on #14
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I am an old Martial-arts follower.
It in broken my skeleton, and torn my muscles by twisting my joints.
The exchange in always be in mind of Budo.
No measure, no competition, but always the idea to share to develop skills.
This is the school of life.
Others are there to share in the altruism.
Never forget the spiritual essence of Wikiloops :)
Thank you Fish for your words !
Edited by titi on October 04 2017 21:37
posted on #15
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Compete?In order to win what? ;-)
-Zamzam & the MellyOmatic-
posted on #16
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First let me address what Tee Gee said, if the Ken you mentioned was me, that's one of the best compliments I have had but it's not deserved, you are a great guitar player and there are times I say I wish I could play something you have played. Second I agree with Fish, the only competition is with myself from before today. I am always hoping to be better, but not worried about being better than someone else. I think we all have an imagination that is unique and we all bring that to the music we work on. I am just happy to be here and very happy to have worked on music with some of the best people the world has on it at the moment.
posted on #17
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I think there is another word for it that alludes me, but I don't feel competition is correct.

It's all open to interpretation. Like I definitely admire certain aspects about different bass players on here, but they will never naturally express themselves like me(or you). Wanting to get your chops up to speed, theory knowledge, timing, that's all good to do. But we sound like ourselves after years of playing.
Live, laugh, bass
posted on #18
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KMstar wrote:
First let me address what Tee Gee said, if the Ken you mentioned was me, that's one of the best compliments I have had but it's not deserved, you are a great guitar player and there are times I say I wish I could play something you have played.

Yep, it's you Ken :) . I listen a LOT to the latest jams on the Wiki radio at work, in the background, but occasionally a song jumps at me. Usually these will be guitarists tracks - and many times it's been one of your tracks mate. Jumping at me from the radio... you rock :W
posted on #19
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that means a lot to me, especially when it comes from a musician I have loads of respect for. Cheers brother!
posted on #20
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When I listen to music here, most of the time I can say who plays. Everyone has his own signature. It is also interesting to see how musicians here progress. Nothing to do with competition. I often play with guitarists who have better technique and I like that. It forces me to try new things. Also I try different styles: jazz, blues, rock etc... with more or less success but I know nobody will mind if I tried.

I made lots of friends here and I am pleased when they get out of their natural path to try new things. Trying new things is more a personnal challenge than competition with other musicians.

I would change the word "competition" with "emulation.
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